Thursday, November 5, 2009

Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976) (TV)

...aka: Look What Happened to Rosemary's Baby
...aka: Rosemary's Baby II

Directed by:
Sam O'Steen

I tried my best to put Polanski's 1968 masterpiece in the back of my mind before viewing this long-forgotten follow-up, but even accepting this on its own terms and within its own network TV limitations, it's still a complete failure as both a sequel and a stand alone film. Badly written, badly acted, horribly dated and completely lacking in both suspense and chills, it's no wonder no one's ever bothered resurrecting this unnecessary, embarrassing relic. Eight years after the events in the original, Rosemary Woodhouse (an annoyingly shrill, consistently hysterical Patty Duke) is still living in the same apartment house raising "Adrian" in the company of the same coven of elderly Satanists headed by Roman (Ray Milland) and Minnie (Ruth Gordon) Castevet. She flees with her child, takes refuge in a church during a storm, hops on a bus the next day and heads out west toward Hollywood to try to get some money from her estranged, backstabbing husband Guy (George Maharis). While on a layover in Nevada, Adrian (or as she calls him, Andrew) kills two children who pick on him. Rest stop whore Marjean (Tina Louise) helps them hide, but is possessed and tricks Rosemary onto a hell bus, which conveniently removes her from the rest of the movie.

Years later, a now twenty-something Adrian (Stephen McHattie) is still living with Marjean, who now owns a successful casino. Adrian's an annoying moody rebel who's always in trouble with the cops for speeding in his black sports car and wants to be a rock singer (groan). On his twenty-first birthday, Uncle Roman and Aunt Minnie show up with some cultists and give Adrian some strange concoction to drink. He then jumps up on stage and starts gyrating around like a spandex-clad Jim Morrison with his face painted up like a mime (!) Outside, Adrian's best bud Peter (David Huffman) is killed when Guy picks up a fallen electric wire off the ground and electrocutes him. Adrian collapses and, blamed for the death of his friend, awakens in a hospital for the criminally insane where a doctor named Ellen (Donna Mills) tries to help him overcome his amnesia with hypnosis sessions. The film then seems to turn into a love story (complete with a ridiculous 'bird woman' hallucination cut in during their little hotel romp... don't ask!), which is actually little more than a cheap set-up the predictable twist ending.

It's divided into three segments; "The Book of Rosemary," "The Book of Adrian" and "The Book of Andrew;" getting progressively sillier as it goes along. The subtle creepiness and expertly modulated suspense of the original is completely absent here, the director gets uneven work from usually dependable actors and employs clumsy voice-overs from various characters and screenwriter Anthony Wilson attempts to ape the black humor of the first and fails miserably. Great actors Milland and Gordon, for instance, are given little to do other than sit around and bicker ("Would you shut up!") and during most of the cult scenes background extras annoying chant "Hail Satan... Hail Adrian... Hail Satan" over and over again. Third-billed Broderick Crawford appears in just one scene as a sheriff.

How many sequels to extremely famous horror films can you name that have never been released to either VHS or DVD in their home country? Obviously someone out there would prefer to keep this one buried, and I can't say I blame them. In Europe (the UK I think), it was released on the Arena label during the 1980s, but other than that I'm not aware of any other releases.


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